I, Juan de Pareja

I, Juan de Pareja

Paperback, 192 pages

Published August 1st 1987 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)


Told through the eyes of Velazquez's slave and assistant, this vibrant novel depicts both the beauty and the cruelty of 17th century Spain and tells the story of Juan, who was born a slave and died a respected artist.



**3.5 stars**

Juan de Pareja's portrait by Velázquez is my favorite painting (every time I see it, it makes me cry) so it was with trepidation and excitement that I started this audio.

The book follows the story of Juan de Pareja and his life as the slave of Diego de Velázquez,......more


I gave this book 5 stars for several reasons. The first of which probably has more to do with my personal tastes, I have studied art history throughout high school and college, and am fascinated by the subject. The next reason is that there was never a dull moment. The book kept me wanting to read, ......more


It was a nice quick read. I liked that it was told in the narration of the slave Juan de Pareja. The author gave him a sad but happy life, with what little is known about him and his Master, Spanish painter Diego Velazquez of the 17th c. Pareja meets good people that want to help him throughout his ......more


I enjoy books about real people from long ago, though there is often not enough info to create a biography. This book is from a perspective of a black slave of Diego Velazquez. While Velazquez' paintings are not as luminescent as those I remember seeing while reading "Girl With a Pearl Earring" abou......more


What a surprise! I stubbornly think of biographies as boring but I absolutely loved this book! It is full of wonderful reflections on the true, good, and beautiful in art and life.

I was fascinated by the art history and inspired to look up the works of the artists Velasquez, Rubens, Muri......more

Michael Fitzgerald

A tremendous book. Though intended for children, it is the work of a mature writer, showing depth and nuance.

There are two odd errors that, to my knowledge, have never been corrected in the half century since publication: p.44 "an access of enthusiasm" should be "an excess" and p.66 "wea......more


An excellent book for young readers, with the caveat that Borton's vocabulary will challenge many.

This is fiction, not biography. Told first person through Juan's eyes, this story of himself and the seventeenth century Spanish painter Diego Velazquez develops in a warm and realistic mann......more

Katharine Ott

"I, Juan de Pareja, was born into slavery early in the seventeenth century." I have never yet been disappointed with a winner of the ALA Newbery Medal and "I, Juan de Pareja," the 1966 winner by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino kept my string intact. With expressive descriptions of people and places, de ......more


One of my summer reading goals was to read three Newbery Medal winning books that I hadn't before. I brought three home from the library at random, and this was one of them. I can understand why it won the Newbery Medal. It's a beautiful and well-written piece of historical fiction, with luminescent......more


I totally see why this won the Newbery. From page one I was enchanted. It had a calming feel to the read. An autobiographical fiction that read so vividly that I felt as if I was there and liked this 17th century setting. I felt honored getting to know the wonderful Spaniard painter, Diego Rodríguez......more

About the author(Elizabeth Borton de Treviño)

Elizabeth Borton de Treviño was the highly acclaimed author of many books for young people. Born in California, it was her move to Mexico in the 1930s that inspired many of her books, including


. She won the Newbery Medal in 1966 for


Elizabeth wa......more

Read More From Elizabeth Borton de Treviño

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